Sex Ed for Christians: The Theology of the Penis

by | May 15, 2019 | Uncategorized | 33 comments

What does the penis, or male genitalia in general, teach us about God, about marriage, about the sexes?

This month I’m trying to expand on sex ed for adults in our Wednesday themed posts, and I want to talk today about what the penis tells us about God. So far we’ve looked at 10 things to know about women and arousal, and about the theology of the clitoris. So now let’s turn to the theology of the penis!

I’m going to be honest: this was much more difficult to write than the woman’s one. For a while, all we could think of was,

“Sometimes, life gets hard. Then it’s not. Then, at inconvenient or awkward times, it gets hard again. Especially during the teenage years.”

But we decided that would be in exceptionally bad taste.

Many (including Pope John Paul II) have written more doctrinal works on this (and have been in much better taste), that have encompassed far more than just the sexual function of the penis. Today, though, I want to focus just on the sex act here, since that’s what I tend to write about. So what do we learn about God and God’s design for sex from how the male anatomy works?

Sexual attraction is natural

First, at its most basic, intercourse only works if the man is aroused. On the arousal timeline, he feels desire (libido); excitement (arousal); stimulation (intercourse & orgasm) and recovery.

But he has to be aroused, or nothing works! So God created men to be quite easily aroused (in general). If you compare bell curves of women’s libidos and men’s libidos, you’ll find that they overlap, with men’s libidos, in general, being higher. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some women with higher libidos than some men; but in general, men tend to have an easier time getting aroused and staying aroused than women do.

And this is the way that we are designed! Sexual attraction, then, is a natural thing that most men feel. It is not a sin. They’re wired to be attracted to women sexually so that sex is easier to do. If men were as hit and miss regarding arousal and sexual response as women are, then sex would be far less frequent and far more disrupted.

(Again, this is not to say that some men don’t suffer from sexual dysfunction or low libido; only that in general men’s arousal is more automatic than women’s.)

We should stop framing sexual attraction as a sin, then. As I’ve said before, and as I’ll write more about soon, noticing is not lusting. You can notice a woman is beautiful and then do absolutely nothing else with that thought. By telling men that every time they notice a beautiful woman they’re in sin, we’re putting men in an impossible situation.

Sex, for men, is about being accepted and “let in”

While women can have sex when they don’t want to (something that is tragic for all too many women), men tend to need to be into it to perform. (This doesn’t mean that men can’t be raped; bodies will respond to stimulation even if you don’t want to, and that’s called arousal non-concordance. Additionally, men can be raped via anal sex. But in a relationship, in general, men can’t have sex unless they want to).

What many men are looking for, then, is for a woman who also wants to have sex. Good husbands want to be wanted; they don’t want to be placated. Sex is actually about a man entering a woman’s body and leaving a part of himself there. Sex is, then, about a man being accepted. Her wanting sex means that she wants him. She wants to experience his desire and his excitement, and she wants to be the object of it. When she is enthusiastic about sex, then, he feels wanted and accepted.

Sex requires men, in general, to woo women

Men feel arousal quite easily and often quite intensely, but they also have this need to feel accepted (literally “let in”). For this to happen, then, they have to get women to actually want them. Certainly a bad man can force a woman, but that only satisfies lust; it doesn’t satisfy the emotional need to be accepted that men also have. Their libido and easy arousal, then, becomes a God-given impetus to woo their wives. If they want willing partners, they need to build the relationship and the emotional connection so that she is willing to be vulnerable with him. His libido, when channeled correctly, actually feeds a more intimate relationship.

Men’s area of greatest pleasure is also their area of greatest vulnerability

Men’s genitalia is the focus of the greatest pleasure that they can feel–but it is also their most vulnerable point. Want to bring a man to his knees? Kick him you-know-where. Every basic self-defense course teaches women this. Go for the testicles!

Why is that? I’m going to suggest that it’s to remind men that this part of themselves that can all too easily take over the relationship and dominate a woman can also become his biggest downfall. It’s to remind him that he is vulnerable. He needs to use his body correctly, or he risks being hurt, and hurting others.

Does your marriage need some spicing up–and some fun?

Try these 24 dares–plus one bonus–to take your marriage to the next level!

Men need to stay in control–of themselves

If men want to avoid this vulnerability, then, they need to stay in control–of themselves. One of my faithful readers, Phil, pointed this out to me in the comments last week. If sex is going to go well, men can’t let themselves get carried away. They have to think of the woman who is with him, to make sure that she is enthusiastic, enjoying herself, and accepting him. He has to make sure he doesn’t overpower her, which is all too easy to do.

Sex can become like a conquest–you dominate her and she submits to you. But for sex to be all that he wants it to be, with a partner who accepts him and is enthusiastic, it must be so much more. And that means not allowing your base instincts to run wild. You must instead temper them with love, with deliberation, with generosity. That makes the stronger look out for the weaker, and it makes sex far more about giving than it otherwise could be.

You’re supposed to serve God–even with that part of you

While we know from the New Testament that circumcision is no longer a requirement to be a part of God’s covenant family, it was the marker of covenant faithfulness from the time of Abraham to the time of Christ. In fact, Paul uses the analogy of circumcision in Romans 4 to describe baptism, which has now replaced circumcision as the sign of our belonging to the people of God. Circumcision was only performed on men, not on women, as circumcision of men does not inhibit their sexual function while female genital mutilation definitionally does affect a woman’s ability to enjoy sex.

By submitting to circumcision and participating in circumcision rites for their sons, the Israelites submitted their whole selves, including their genitalia, to God’s covenant. So what does circumcision actually tell us about how God sees men’s sexuality?

Circumcision is a sign of being in covenantal relationship with God–and that sign was done on that part of the body. There’s all kinds of reasons for that (it was the part of you that had children; it was the part of you that was the most intimate), but I think one of them is telling us that at its most basic, we must serve God even with that part of us. We’re in a covenantal relationship with God, and that includes our sex drives and our sexuality.

So your sex life is supposed to come under submission to God. It isn’t an animalistic force that cannot be contained.

Much teaching about sex in the church describes male libido as an unwieldy force that every man must battle at all times. It is as though many in the church believe the Spirit is impotent when it comes to the problem of male lust. Of course, that is ridiculous. While many men struggle with lust, many others do not. God’s original design was not that we serve God in everything EXCEPT our sex drives, which can’t be tamed (so women have to tame men for them by not causing lust). No, God’s design was that we serve God in everything, ESPECIALLY our sex drives. So let’s stop talking about sex as the one area that men are unable to submit to God because lust is so overpowering. We as a church should come alongside the struggling while nevertheless expecting holiness and “spurring one another on towards love and good deeds” (Heb 10:23, NIV).

Theology of the Penis: What male genitalia teaches us about God and sex

What do you think? Is there something that I missed? I did find the women’s version easier to write! So let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

You Don’t Have to Say Yes to Selfish Sex

God does not ask us to consent to selfish sex. In fact, one-sided intercourse is not sex. I can summarize The Great Sex Rescue by saying that sex is supposed to be MUTUAL, INTIMATE, and PLEASURABLE FOR BOTH. That's what God intended. Sex is not merely intercourse...

Pastor’s Wives Tell All–And More Podcasts!

I've had some amazing podcasts drop recently, and I wanted to make sure I shared them with you. After getting our manuscript for our mothers of daughters book in last Friday, I'm taking a little bit of down week, getting some things done I've been putting off (I got...

Comments

We welcome your comments and want this to be a place for healthy discussion. Comments that are rude, profane, or abusive will not be allowed. Comments that are unrelated to the current post may be deleted. Comments above 300 words in length are let through at the moderator’s discretion and may be shortened to the first 300 words or deleted. By commenting you are agreeing to the terms outlined in our comment and privacy policy, which you can read in full here!

33 Comments

  1. Ruth

    Victory; Lust of any kind; not lifetime. What if we saw Jesus in part of His glory like Isaiah (from reading Scripture and prayer). Fall in love, obsess, then sin has zero appeal (seen for what it is; fake/ death). /// Parable of the 4 soils. We can be the one with deep roots into Jesus, so life, temptation, storms do not distract. How freeing! // I’m more Baptist, but a Charismatic church has proved/ modeled this. (So as a side blessing, we learn to get along and learn from each other!) Many college and youth attend. Women are free to wear cute shorts, little cleavage, and are seen as daughters of God. Mind you, husbands scout out the congregation, first, (know the young men, may talk to the old; age helps) being responsible protective, and loving. It’s real and amazing to see! Please help spread the news! Thanks!!!

    Reply
  2. Sleepy

    I think this post was great. I agree on everything specially the part about us men have to learn to show self-control. Its a part that I and many men struggle with(from what I seen from the mens group I belong too). I understand that there are a lot of men who dont struggle with this. It would be nice to hear more from those men. I mostly see men talking about their struggle with this and many who says that they too. Some have overcome it but I rarely meet anyone who has never struggled with it. But I guess people dont go around and talk about how their never had problems with it. Maybe they should do it more.

    Can I ask something about this. I have been thinking a lot about masturbation. I have always seen it as wrong and fought against it. Some time ago it came up while talking with my wife. When I told her that I dont want to do it and stay away from it she got confused. She said that she doesnt mind at all. It seems like she thought that I do it regularly As long as I dont watch anything she didnt have any problem with. I dont want to do it but it does happen at times and it always bring confusing feelings. I wonder if masturbation is a sin that hurts God or a sin that hurts my wife? If my wife thinks its ok, is it still wrong?

    Its true that our penis is the more vulnurable part but its not only physical. Its also emotional. I dont think there is no other part that creates more insecurities than the penis. I mean we do care about how we look in genearl but what makes us more insecure is penis size(maybe not for all but for many I guess). If there is something my wife can say that makes me feel bette it is about my penis size. But even then I still feel insecure. There is a lot of talk about penis size everywhere that its difficult to not feel insecure. Just to show how silly it can be I can tell you that there was a time that I was so insecure about it that I started to measure it. I was happily surprised of the size but recently I started to feel insecure again so I have been measuring it wishing that I had a few inches more. Im sorry if this is TMI but I think many men can identify with how important this is for us.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think that’s a really, really common insecurity. I really do.

      I have written about masturbation before, too, but I know that your wife really tries to avoid sex. I think that’s so sad. I wish she would read this blog, because I have a lot I’d like to say to her!

      Reply
      • Andrea

        I know I’m the one to blame everything on porn, but where else would guys get the idea that they need to have a foot-long penis? One of my friends once told me about accidentally insulting her husband, who was feeling insecure about his penis size, by telling him that she thought it was great because it didn’t hurt. When she realized he took this as an insult, she exclaimed: “Wait… so you’re upset that intercourse is not painful for me? Seriously?!”

        Reply
        • Johann

          As strange as it might sound, I think there is a natural tendency for men to think that the size of their penis correlates to their inner strength and their ability to bring a woman pleasure. From very early ages most boys are acutely aware of their penis and it rather easily becomes a part of their own self-identity which is why men are generally more concerned with it than women. As boys go through puberty there is a lot of social shuffling that takes place and trying to understand themselves sexually has a lot to do with their anatomy.

          In my case (as might be the case for a lot of men) I didn’t need to see porn to know that not all men are as well endowed as others. Having played a lot of sports and even professionally, I was exposed to lots of other guys (think hundreds and hundreds of men), this was just a normal part of being on so many teams for so many years. From my experience I can tell you that if there was a well endowed man around, it would not go unnoticed and eventually would start a conversation. Perhaps it would be similar to when women are together, they might talk (for one reason or another) about something like pms, etc. It’s just a part of life. However, for men there is a strange kind of jealousy (maybe even insecurity) that a lot of men have in regard to the well endowed.

          They really want to be good when it comes to being with their wife and there is this kind of thought that if they are too small they won’t be or that someone bigger would be better. Yes…it may sound silly, but I think for some men (probably a lot of men) it’s a real concern which is why it is so hurtful when a woman comments on the smaller size of a man in regard to anyone who might be bigger. I think maybe your friend was trying to be comforting to her husband, but in his mind he probably doesn’t want to think of himself as being smaller than someone else. And many men, like myself, know just how big some men really are without any need for porn. Hopefully your friend’s husband doesn’t want to hurt her, that would be horrible, but a woman with a well endowed husband, where everything is healthy between them, shouldn’t experience ongoing pain, in fact just the opposite–and it is this fact that your friend’s husband is aware of.

          I think it’s really important for women to try and understand the sensitivity of this issue for a lot of men. Maybe it would be similar to the way a lot of women care about whether they are perceived as being pretty or beautiful. It would be very hurtful to a woman to tell her, “Well, you’re sort of pretty.” It’s going to hurt. In the same way I think women need to be especially careful in how they talk about their husband’s anatomy. For better or worse his psyche from boyhood is bound up with it and he can’t just change that.

          Reply
        • Kate

          Andrea, penis size issues were there long before porn. It started with white men comparing their size to black (African) men they saw. As a result they created a stereotype called the Mandingo (even made a movie) to deter white females from having sex with black men. The Mandingo stereotype existed as far back as the 1600s! And there are truths to some stereotypes, that’s why they say, “behind every stereotype is a silver of truth.”

          If you observe European artwork white men are displayed with smaller penises and if you see African artwork black men are displayed with larger penises, by Africans themselves. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s like saying black women on average have bigger booties than other women, it’s true. Not every black women or black men have big penis or big butt. Averages exist. Again nothing wrong with the sizes God creates. People need to learn to be grateful with how they are created.

          If a man feels insecure about his penis size then he needs to take up to God and find his self-esteem and confidence there, instead of looking down the pants of other men. As a women who’s only 4’11” the same height as a 12 year old girl, i would love to be as tall as my girlfriend who’s 5’10”. But God decide that’s not for me and i need to be greatful for my size.

          If God decides to create some ethnicity’s in a particular way, “who are you, oh man, to say why have i been created this way.” God has decided to give Europeans colorful eyes and hairs, God has decided to give Africans hair that defies gravity, high cheek bones and bodies to die for, God has decided to give Asians poreless porcelain skin, beautiful lush hair, and bodies that never gain weight, etc. etc. Comparing ourselves to another breaks the 10th commandment, “Don’t covet.” Make the best with what we have and lets use it to glorify God for we ALL have been fearfully and wonderful made, wonderful are His works!

          Reply
          • Katie/unmowngrass

            Amen, Amen, Amen!!!

    • Binn

      Masterbation is sex with self. If God created sex to be shared between a husband and a wife to literally become one and connect emotionally and physically and bond, then masterbation would be wrong. The act of sex bonds you to whomever the act is taking place with due to chemicals and hormones being released. Hopefully that would be your wife that you’re bonding to. However, it could also be with porn you’re using or fantasies. Then you would be unfaithfully bonding to them. Even if you’re not using material to masterbate, I’m pretty sure there’s some fantasizing going on which would be unfaithful to your spouse. Even if it was her you’re thinking of, it’s objectifying her and not cherishing her. Sexual attraction and feelings are normal. It’s what you do from there that can be right or wrong.

      From the standpoint of a woman, size doesn’t matter. I have only ever been with my husband. I have never seen another man in the nude. I am completely satisfied and have nothing else to compare my husband to. And no need to. Comparison isn’t fair. And it serves no good purpose.

      Reply
    • Katie/unmowngrass

      My personal take on the masturbation topic is that there are really two things going on, and they are Venn-diagram related but they are not exactly the same, and I’m going to separate them to make them a bit clearer.

      The first is wrongful fantasy. A mind/heart issue. I could tie your hands behind your back — I could even chop them off! Or chop off your genitals!! — and you would still be able to do this. Porn can fuel this , but it’s not necessary for it.

      The other is the physical touching of your own genitals, the orgasm, the just enjoying your own body that God gave you. Dreaming about lying in some beautiful paradise where all is right with the world. And not actually having a sexual thought about another person at all, just enjoying the physical sensations.

      You see the difference, I hope.

      Anyone unable to do the latter without also doing the former, obviously should endeavour to abstain. And I’m not saying that the latter should be IT, far from it; I’m just also saying that it absolutely should not be a source of shame, y’know?

      Shame is feeling that our very selves are wrong somehow (as opposed to guilt, which is about our actions). But Jesus Christ died to kill off that feeling, and then experienced resurrection in order to lead us through to a land of new hope and second chances, where our mistakes and bad choices no longer have the power to define us/hold us captive. ((HALLELUJAH!!! lol))

      I wrote all this because your entry read to me like you’re ashamed, so I hope I have brought some hope. That being said, the scriptures do say that to deliberately violate your own conscience is sin in itself. So if you think about what I have said but you still feel convicted that masturbation is wrong, then firstly that is none of my business, and I apologise for potentially making things harder for you. And secondly, I implore you, stay true to your own convictions that the Master has given to you, because it is Him you are answerable to, not me.

      God bless.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        That’s a very good distinction, Katie! Thank you.

        Reply
  3. Diane Hand

    Could you please listen to the Dennis Prager Male/Female hour from today, May 15, 2019?

    Reply
  4. Phil

    Who else would use theology and penis and clitoris in the same sentence? Love it Sheila. If you really think about it its great. We are not to let anything master our body and we are to serve God even with our sexual parts. What a gift! I was wondering how you were going to get through this one as all I could come up with after my staying in control idea was a bunch of funny stuff too….one time I was fishing on Lake Ontario on the other side of the lake from you with my brother and my cousin. Somehow the conversation turned to the number of kids we all have in our families. My cousin turns to me and says “. We may not have the biggest family jewels but we certainly know how to use it!” Of course we laughed, and if you really think about it and what was written here and you take out the joke. …how true it is……thanks!

    Reply
  5. Kate

    This was beautiful, Sheila! I love so many things about men including their penis. I just love the male gender and you wrote such a beautiful article praising their lovely form. I have pinned it and hope one day to read it to my husband and my future sons. This was absolutely beautiful!

    Reply
  6. Greg

    Another fantastic post, Sheila, and perfectly timed as I was thinking about the theology of the penis over the weekend. So related to this post, I’m curious…

    Do you think that men’s typically (but not exclusively) higher desire for sex could be rooted in an Adamist yearn to reunite Eve into our bodies (since God extracted women from us), yet in God’s infinite yet at times baffling design—including that of the penis—we now insert our bodies into yours, versus returning your bodies physically into ours?

    I don’t want to derail the conversation here from the post’s topic, but I am interested in hearing perspectives.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s actually interesting, Greg. Never really thought of it like that! But it could very well have something to do with it!

      Reply
  7. Natalie

    “Good husbands want to be wanted; they don’t want to be placated. Sex is actually about a man entering a woman’s body and leaving a part of himself there. Sex is, then, about a man being accepted. Her wanting sex means that she wants him.” Sadly, this is something I didn’t really understand till this past year, probably because it had been drilled into me in church and youth group that a good wife provides for her husband sexually. Ugh, how cheaply that sells sex for the man!!

    And your paragraphs on the husband wooing his wife… SO TRUE!!! I think that’s one of the reasons having a husband whose sexual desire isn’t on par with or greater than his wife’s can actually cause a lot of tension and self-doubt in the wife. With all my preconceived ideas of what a typical/”healthy” man’s sex drive looks like, it’s been difficult for me to understand and accept that just because my husband isn’t always trying to woo me and have sex with me doesn’t mean that he isn’t still attracted to me and wanting me sexually.

    Reply
  8. Wendy

    Reading this post was so painful. My husband abandoned me sexually and emotionally about 5 years into our marriage. He started viewing porn after we were married. He wanted no accountability for his behavior. I think he no longer wanted the marriage or me but wanted what I could give him materially. He does not want a divorce. So I have been married almost 20 years but do not know the genuine love of a man. He was my first boyfriend.

    When we were dating he exhibited a different side to him and I was taken in by the gentle loving Christian man. I found out he was sleeping with a woman he met working at the shop he frequents. I think he was planning to leave me to be with this woman but eventually could not bring himself to do it as he would have to work and support her. Whereas when he is with me he just lives off the earnings I make.

    I am in my fifties and am very distressed that this is my destiny to live with someone who is a two faced freeloader who can talk about the gospel no end. I don’t want to feel anger and bitterness and regret all the time but I don’t know how to move forward. Perhaps it is not God’s will that every woman should have a good marriage and be loved.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Wendy, I’m so, so sorry for the pain you’re going through. So sorry! That’s awful.

      From what I’m hearing you say, though, your husband has cheated; has watched porn; and refuses to work. He is not demonstrating the fruits of knowing Jesus. And he has broken covenant with you. Have you ever put your foot down and said, “no more?” I’d suggest that you read the book Boundaries. This really isn’t okay, and by not doing anything you’re actually enabling his sin. It may be time to say, “no more of this behaviour!”

      Reply
    • Sheep

      HI Wendy, I’m so sorry for what you are going through, and I totally understand (but the roles are reversed) Rather than try to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, I would highly suggest you get the book by Leslie Vernick “the emotionally destructive marriage” I really think it will help you see your situation for what it really is.
      I have been where you are at and it no fun. But let me tell you there is hope that life can be better.

      Reply
    • Jennifer Lawrence

      Hi Wendy, I am so sorry for where you find yourself in your marriage, I can’t imagine the pain you must be feeling. I would also highly recommend the book suggested by sheep, “the emotionally destructive marriage” by Leslie Vernick. It was a game changer for my marriage. It gave me the tools, clarity and confidence I needed to address some very destructive patterns we had going on in our relationship, and as a result I am very thankful to say we have a much happier marriage now, largely due to the wisdom in that book. It is well worth reading.

      Reply
  9. Brievel

    For what it’s worth, your italicized “bad taste” text made me giggle.

    Reply
  10. Troy

    This is so good! The church has let the world Define what sexy is. You are bringing back Purity and Holiness and the beauty of great sex between husbands and wives. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      You’re so welcome!

      Reply
  11. Rebekah

    This is a great post! I don’t get to ready every post these days, but the title of this one made me definitely click through my email. You do a great job addressing everything.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Rebekah! I appreciate it. And do check out last week’s, too, because I like that one as well. 🙂

      Reply
  12. K

    How do you help a guy who masturbates in his sleep? The internet is not helpful in related searches, and I’m scared to look this one up.

    Reply
  13. Nick Peters

    Hi, Sheila. I saw this a week or so ago, but my wife and I were moving and I wanted to wait.

    There’s also the aspect that with God, we are the ones in the submissive position, the female one as it were in the ancient culture, and He is the man. God gives His life in us and new life is birthed. In the same way, a man rises up to give life to his wife and his giving of life leads to a kind of death in him, but that death can bring about new life in the woman.

    Sex itself is extremely theological.

    Reply
  14. angela

    I apologize for how graphic my question is, but i dont know another way to ask this. For the past 10 years, Since My husband was approx 52, hes not interested in intercourse with me. He wants me to give him oral (always has been his preference, and never gave me a choice in the matter when we first married), but wont return the favor. So all i get is “the finger” . When I ve tried to tell him i want him to kiss me and be more intimate with me, he considers a peck on my lips to count as kissing. He DOES try to please me in bed, but only if it involves what most people would consider foreplay. I dont know if i should be concerned, or just accept that this is all the sex I’ll get for the rest of our married life.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Is erectile dysfunction an issue in your marriage? Is it that he can’t perform?

      Reply
  15. Harold

    JP II wrote, “The human body in its nakedness—understood as a manifestation of the person and as his gift, that is, a sign of trust and donation to the other person, who is conscious of the gift, and who is chosen and resolved to respond to it in an equally personal way.”

    Sheila, I think you are correct that men and have a deeper need to be accepted and “let in” and God’s design of making the sex organs vulnerable is part of forcing a man trust a woman to know he is accepted. I’d also say it is a message of the covenantal nature of sex.

    You spoke about the emotional effects of male vulnerability on a man. What is the impact on a less powerful wife knowing that in sexual intimacy she has the power to cause life-altering PTSD levels of pain, take away his ability to have sex, and torture him to death? Does it bring out feelings of protectiveness knowing her husband is as vulnerable to her as a baby in her arms? Does it give a feeling of dignity and equality? What does it communicate to a wife, if anything?

    Reply
  16. Nate

    Thank you for encouraging people to think about how penises might be able to honor God. Culture has a very unhealthy relationship with penises — often treated them as either the complete determining factor of a man’s worth (large penis = more value) or something to laugh at (hence, all of the penis jokes in culture). I appreciate you trying to present a more godly narrative. It’s wonderful work.

    However, in attempting to present a more Christlike view of the penis, I did notice of couple of things in the blog that might not have come across the way that you intended them to.

    1. You said that making the “life is hard” joke would be in poor taste. Thank you for recognizing this. I agree with your judgment. However, since it was in poor taste, I think it would have been better left unsaid entirely. As a man who has struggled with deep insecurity regarding my penis (due to sexual trauma from childhood), it made me very nervous that you weren’t going to be respect about this topic that has a lot of emotional concern for me. Thankfully, you were respectful in the article! But I still think that the article would have been better without the “life is hard” joke.

    2. The notion on the vulnerability of the penis might be taken into another direction more in line with your general themes about respecting one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, which is a great foundation for gender relations. The physical vulnerability of the penis might also be a reminder that, for many men, the topic of their penis is a very vulnerable thing. Many men are deeply insecure about the appearance of their penis, which has generate a lot of self-hatred and insecurity in sexual relations and being able to love oneself as Christ loves us.

    3. Linking the physical vulnerability of the penis to a threat for not behaving well might have connotations beyond what you intended. For many male trauma victims like myself, it can be very triggering to hear people threaten our genitalia with physical violence. Of course, this does not excuse rape or attempted assault in any way (or that a woman should not defend herself)! Perhaps I am overly biased because of my personal trauma, but your comment sounded like something akin to “Behave well or we will damage your penis!” which triggers my PTSD. Deliberately causing physical harm to another person’s genitalia can be tricky territory because it can sound to many people (or at least myself) like we are entering areas of sexual violence that will be directed toward my body.

    4. Many men are deeply upset and offended by the unnecessary practice of circumcision. Lots of young men, realizing that it holds virtually no health benefits, are very upset that their earliest days in life were conditioned by genital mutilation. I very much appreciate that you are trying to give a re-interpretation of circumcision in the Bible as something positive. That’s a wonderful endeavor, and I encourage you to keep thinking about it. But I’m not sure that the way it was presented in this blog was the best option. Perhaps using Paul’s theology of circumcision being a matter of the heart (Col. 2:8-14) and not about the body’s appearance might be a better option, because it can end up being a source of body positive for men, which many of them need (it’s also more egalitarian).

    I know this post is old, but I still hope that you are able to see my comments for future conversations. I also really hope that I came across as kind and loving in my comments. Please forgive me if I said anything offensive. I also mentioned that I was slightly triggered by certain elements of this blog, but please know that I forgive you. I am very sympathetic to your cause, and I want you to be able to do the best ministry that you can.

    If you’d like to discuss this in more detail, I would be happy to have a conversation.

    God bless you.

    Reply
  17. Scott

    I must say I stongly disagree with your belief that circumcision does not inhibit men’s sexual function. It most definitely DOES inhibit sexual function. There is a passage in the bible about men wanting to be like Jews and were asked by the rabi why would they want such a thing when even the Jews don’t want. If that doesn’t say something about the adverse effects then I don’t know what would. It both a trans to the penis and the emotional state of the man. Not to mention the lose of over half the sensory nerves that occupy that part of the body (index card size of flesh gone with all the sensory nerves) for no reason.

    Reply
  18. Michael

    Dear Sister Sheila,

    I’m very happy to know that there is SOMEONE out there from the feminine side who recognizes the worth of men and their genitalia!

    As a married man, who has been married for 41 years, but happily married now for 22, in BOTH marriages I have been led to feel “inferior” to the women I have been/am married to. It’s as if THEIR sexual desire, or LACK thereof, is MORE important than my more frequent sexual desire.

    From my research into the various studies about sex in marriage, a marriage that has less than 12 sexual encounters in one year is considered a “sexless marriage.” With the Apostle Paul’s command to married couples, that they should not withhold themselves from one another except for a short time of fasting and prayer, and that they should come together quickly after that time of fasting and prayer, why do Christian marriages walk in disobedience to this command? How difficult is it for us as Christians to actually have healthy sexual relationships in our marriages?!?! Why is this such a difficult thing?!?!

    I rightly desire sexual activity with my wife, beginning with pleasuring her to orgasm. She is ALWAYS the priority in bed. My focus has always been to please her first. However, I am ALWAYS the initiator. She has NEVER initiated sex, during our 22-year marriage. I have discussed this with her a hundred times, but to no avail.

    Having read the Song of Solomon many times, I recognize that both of the partners in the story LONG for ONE ANOTHER. They BOTH describe each other’s physical attributes in great detail. The woman describes her lover in a way I WANT MY WIFE TO DESCRIBE ME!!! I describe her OFTEN, to her face, whether in bed or out of bed. And it’s ALWAYS been complimentary. Why can’t it be that my wife would reciprocate?!?!

    Just thought I’d ask.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.